No Country For Old Jews

9 May

Read this book.

Don’t ever let it be said that Hollywood never gets novels right.  Last night, I (finally) finished the last 100 pages of Michael Chabon’s spectacular The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, which had laid unopened on my bedside table for several months.  I just didn’t want it to end, and couldn’t quite bring myself to read to that last page.

Though I knew even before finishing that this was a truly special book (I even ranted a bit about it a few months back), now that I’m done, I’m going to go ahead and say that it was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had, straight through the last page of the story and into the book’s glossary of yiddish terms.

And in contrast to the somewhat meandering conclusions of most of Chabon’s other (wonderful) work, Yiddish Policemen ends with an exhilarating exclamation point – I was expecting to finally reach the last page and feel sad that my journey with these characters had ended, and instead, I found myself pumping my fist with a “Hell yes!”

What’s more, the whole time I was reading, it was clear that this story, this kosher noir set in a fictional land of Rebbes and Black Hats, of Verbovers and Rudashefskeys, where no one’s loyalties are set in stone and everyone’s packing a sholem… that under the proper guidance, this world would transition seamlessly to the silver screen.

So, upon finishing, I looked up who would be making the inevitable film adaptation, wondering who could possibly be up to the task… and really, it should have been obvious.  I mean, what filmmakers could tackle a realist noir set in an alternate version of the present, filled with murder and deceit and shocking violence? A painstakingly created universe populated with wonderfully strange, larger-than-life characters whose language is as twisty as it is brilliant?  Who could pull something like that off?

That’s right.  The flippin’ COEN BROTHERS have been signed on to write and direct the film.  I cannot tell you how freaking pumped this makes me. Really, the only way you can understand is if you go and get this book and read it now.  For real, you’ll thank me.  Not only will you get to read one hell of an amazing book, you’ll also be prepared for what will almost undoubtedly be the best films of 2010.

I can’t imagine a more perfect fit for this story, for these characters, than the Coens, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a movie to come out.

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